Learning on the job
Many of you want to get better at Excel, but you can’t find the time to follow a course. Or the exact opposite, you have time to follow a course, but you’re afraid that you’ll forget what you learned in a matter of weeks because you aren’t going to apply the learnings right away. In either case we would advise you to follow a course when it’s busy, not when you have a ton of free time!
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Our experience clearly shows that new information sticks much better when it’s directly applied to real world scenarios, and besides, you’ll earn back your time super easily with more efficient Excel use. Learn how to navigate to program more quickly and apply modern possibilities. It’s not about learning a bunch of tips and tricks, but knowing how to find the tricks you need when you need them.
Teach yourself to keep Excel models simple by applying basic principles. For example, use standardized colors for certain types of information, create good tables, 1 table per worksheet, ect. Always stay sharp and critical. Never choose the quick and easy option but mold a set of clear principles for yourself and stick to them! Don’t be afraid to implement external help, or ask advice from a colleague in auditing and validating your spreadsheets.
You’re probably thinking: in a busy period I simply don’t have time to work on my Excel usage. We understand that, but believe us, if you train yourself well you will end up saving way more time than you spend on the training.
- Make sure you have a basic set of principles written out that are easy to understand. We suggest that you create these principles with your team, so that everyone agrees on the basics. Tip: Use our page with Excel principles as a starting point. You can download the booklet and adjust it to suit the needs of you and your team.
- Consume Excel related content online (blogs and vlogs for example) from real experts like Leila Gharani or Oz du Soleil. They are incredibly inspiring!
- Follow our incredibly affordable training on Coursera (Excel Modelling for Professionals). It’s a 4 week training (1 hour a day) which teaches you how to build good models in Excel, and even gives you advice on when not to use Excel.
- Make sure you have a clear system in place for validation of Excel models. It’s incredibly important as even the best user can fall back on bad habits or make a mistake. Create a list of things to control in each file, get your colleagues involved, and use automated tooling like PerfectXL to standardize and speed up the process.
In conclusion all we can say is, do it! Use the busy periods in particular to train yourself, that way you apply the information in real time and improve your skills on the job. We guarantee this will also improve your experience with and enjoyment of Excel.